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Thursday, 26 April 2018

How to Keep a Guinea Pig on a Budget

Owning guinea pigs is something that can really break your bank and cause you financial problems. They require a splash-out of money for their cage, hay and food costing a fortune each month. However, there are a few handy tips to get your financial plan on track.



  1. Avoid adopting more guinea pig's than you can handle. Keeping the minimum of two guinea pigs together will suffice. If you struggle with money or think you will potentially struggle then avoid adopting any more than two cavies. As much as they're irresistible in the pet store, you'll most likely end up having to give them away afterwards due to the financial struggle.
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  2. Compare prices. Avoid just going to the store closest to you. If you want to save on items, discover some other stores in town. By comparing prices and visiting more than one store you can find yourself a great deal on items you buy and save yourself money.
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  3. Find an inexpensive yet suitable cage. Don't buy something that's way too expensive yet unsuitable for your guinea pig. Some pet stores tend to overprice their cages. Online stores or DIY C & C cages are sufficient enough. You can always build your own cage instead of purchasing an expensive commercial cage.
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    • Buy second-hand which are a lot cheaper (almost half price) than new store cages and are just as good.
    • Two guinea pigs will need 7.5 square feet at the minimum.[1]
    • You will find that C & C cages come up a lot cheaper than hutches and runs. You can also make your own by purchasing cubic grids and connecting them together. However, these are more suitable for indoor guinea pigs. They will not be practical for an outdoor guinea pig.
  4. Change your bedding. Bedding can be one of the most expensive parts of keeping guinea pig's with some people spending $20 a week on it! There is no need to spend so much on bedding that doesn't last and costs you a fortune. Switch to something that lasts longer or is cheaper.
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    • Fleece will last you a lifetime with it only needing to be washed regularly. However, keep an eye on utility and water bills. You will need to wash your fleece at least once a week.
    • Switch to a different brand/make of bedding. Line recycled newspaper at the bottom of your cage for extra absorbency and longer lasting bedding. Switch to a cheaper bedding such as wood shavings (but avoid cedar and pine). If you're using hay as bedding you might be spending too much money.
    • Don't overuse your bedding. You only need a small amount of bedding to go over the top of your bottom lining. Don't overdo it by packing the bedding up. It's a waste and isn't needed.
  5. Make your own huts and bridges. In pet stores, hide-outs can be $20-$30 which is a major fortune for the items used to make it! Purchase second-hand or buy from someone who makes their own. You can even make your own huts and bridges with untreated, pet-friendly wood. They're easy and cheap to make.
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  6. Avoid wasting money on useless toys. Guinea pigs don't need toys or chew toys and often don't use them. Pet stores put these colourful toys on display to engage the customers when they often aren't needed and end up being a waste of money.
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    • If you want to provide toys and chew toys to your guinea pigs, you can always make your own for free. You can provide them with toilet rolls or wooden blocks as chew toys and socks stuffed with hay as a playful toy.
    • Guinea pigs don't need chew toys as long as they have hay available to them. Their teeth are kept filed down and healthy when they chew on their hay. They usually don't use chew toys making them completely unnecessary.
  7. Avoid extra items. Mineral blocks, vitamin supplements and/or vitamin water drops are completely unnecessary and sometimes dangerous. Guinea pigs don't need artificial items to get their nutrients from and definitely avoid adding anything to their water as they might completely stop drinking! These items are another unnecessary waste of money.
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  8. Spot clean daily. Spot cleaning can help your bedding last longer and keep the cage cleaner. Tidy up any patches of wee and poo. Your bedding can last 2 x as long using this method daily.
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EditDietary Requirements

  1. Find where you can buy your hay. Guinea pigs require hay available to them 24/7 which can become pricey if you aren't buying it from the right place. Most pet stores over-charge for a bag of hay in order to make profit. Try finding a place that grows their own hay and sells it for a cheap price.
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    • Some equestrian centres sell bales of hay which are cheaper and you get more for less. Essentially you want to be looking at $5 a bale which should last your guinea pigs months. Another option is to get your hay from a farm stop.
    • Make sure the hay you buy is dust extracted to prevent any respiratory problems.
  2. Find where you can save on vegetable costs. There are a few useful and helpful ways on saving money when it comes to buying vegetables. You can feed leftovers, grow your own, find produce on sale, shop elsewhere, buy in bulk, or purchase vegetables in season. A factor that can effect your vegetable shopping is also your knowledge on vegetables and what you're buying.
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  3. Feed leftover vegetables. You can feed them strawberry tops, carrot peels, cucumber cuttings, lettuce leaves, etc. Your guinea pigs can be your living compost. Before you feed them your leftovers ensure that the vegetables are free from any sauces, salt and pepper. Never feed them iceberg lettuce, tomato stems/leaves, potatoes or avocado.
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  4. Grow your own produce. Having your own veggie patch is becoming increasingly popular in every-day homes as it saves on grocery shopping. If you don't consider yourself a green-thumb or cut out for growing your own vegetables you can always have a small herb garden.
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  5. Shop for bargains and sales. Plenty of vegetables get reduced each day when they're coming up to passing their best before date. You can find bags of salad leaves and spinach for 50 cents or carrots reduced per kilogram. Some produce that have been bruised can also be found at a cheaper price.
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  6. Shop somewhere less costly such as local or at a farmers market. Make sure you are comparing prices to see which place suites your financial needs. Majority of farmer markets tend to sale their produce for a cheaper price than super markets in order to compete for their income.
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    • Avoid buying vegetables that aren't in season because they will cost a lot more than their original price.
  7. Buy in bulk. Buying in bulk, or also known as wholesale, can save you a significant amount of money and even get you a discount on what you're buying. This includes hay, food and bedding. Avoid going to pet stores for overpriced items which are packed in small quantity.
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    • Agriculture and equestrian places usually sell items in bulk whilst in small prices such as hay and animal feed.
    • Purchase your vegetables in bulk too. Find vegetables that are in bags or priced per kg. You can find yourself a bargain by shopping for vegetables that are kept in plastic bags such as cabbages and zucchini. You should also look for bags of herbs which can come up very cheap but plentiful for your guinea pig's daily intake.
  8. Find coupons and offers. Some super markets have weekly offers or coupons if you sign up online. You will find the latest discounts, sales and reduced items online. By collecting coupons, offers and such you can find yourself great deals in store especially on vegetable produce which can be the most expensive to buy for guinea pigs.
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EditVeterinary Care

  1. Examine your guinea pig yourself. You can perform a self-examination daily/weekly to spot any early symptoms of illnesses or parasites such as hair loss and/or unusual droppings.
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    • Keep note that an accurate diagnosis and treatment can only be done by a professional vet.
  2. Take your guinea pig to a veterinary school. Veterinary schools can offer you a lower cost when it comes to check-ups and treatment. Call up a veterinary school nearby to see if they will perform a reduced cost appointment.
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    • Go for a reliable veterinary school that you can trust and has supervision. If you feel something is off then go for a professional exotic vet.
  3. Get help with veterinary costs. You can apply for financial help online. Many organisations are available to help aid with veterinary costs if you're struggling to cover the money for veterinary care. You can find them online and contact them via email or phone.
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  4. Prevent any issues. You can prevent things such as dental and gut issues already by simply providing your guinea pigs with hay and an adequate amount of vegetables. The healthier your guinea pig the less risks you run of having to take your guinea pig to the vet.
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  • Purchase plain pellets, don't go for any mixtures which can be pricier. Plain pellets have enough nutrients in them for a guinea pig.
  • Don't splash out on unnecessary items that your guinea pig won't use.
  • Purchase vegetables that are reduced.
  • Make your own toys.
  • Use any coupons you have.


  • Don't feed your guinea pig avocado, iceberg lettuce, tomato stems/leaves, potatoes, dairy, meat or any human foods.
  • Ensure your guinea pig is being cared for properly although you're on a budget.
  • Whilst looking for the cheapest pricing on food, avoid buying anything that is of low-quality.
  • Make sure the hay you buy is dust extracted to prevent any respiratory problems.

EditRelated wikiHows

EditSources and Citations

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